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Therion - The Miskolc Experience (-/10) - Sweden - 2009

Genre: Symphonic Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Playing time: 95:34
Band homepage: Therion

Tracklist:

CD 1 - Classical Adventures

  1. Clavicula Nox
  2. Dvorak: Excerpt From Symphony No. 9
  3. Verdi: "Vedi! Le Fosche Notturne Spotigle" From Il Trovatore
  4. Mozart: "Dies Irae" From Reqiuem
  5. Saint-Saens: Excerpt From Symphony No.3
  6. Wagner: "Notung! Notung! Niedliches Schwert" From The Ring
  7. Wagner: "Excerpt From The Overture" From Rienzi
  8. Wagner: Second Part Of "Der Tag Ist Da" From Rienzi
  9. Wagner: First Part Of "Herbei! Herbei!" From Rienzi

CD 2 - Therion Songs

  1. Blood Of Kingu
  2. Sirius B
  3. Lemuria
  4. Eternal Return
  5. Draconian Trilogy
  6. Schwarzalbenheim (Svartalfheim) (Gold Der Unterwelt)
  7. Via Nocturna
  8. The Rise Of Sodom And Gomorrah
  9. Grand Finale (Postludium)

DVD

  • Documentary (20 Min.)
  • Therion Goes Classic - Bukarest (16 Min.)
Therion - The Miskolc Experience

THERION are one of my favourite bands, no doubt, and the “Live Gothic” double CD (or DVD) was an impressive live document that ranks very high in my all time fave list, so I was both surprised and eager to hear that there was yet another double live album titled “The Miskolc Experience” (including the DVD), where the Swedes performed together with a 41-head symphonic orchestra and a 41-head classical choir at the International Opera Festival in Hungarian town Miskolc and given the highly symphonic character of THERION’s music, this sounds like a dream come true and a perfect fit, doesn’t it? So much that I would even look past the fact that there seems to be an increasingly inflationary amount of live album floating around…

 

The two CDs of “The Miskolc Experience” are two completely different kinds of beasts, as the first one sees Metal adaptations of classical compositions, while the second one shows THERION songs in a more bombastic/symphonic manner (enter orchestra and choir) and while the premise is very interesting, there are several flaws that mar the experience even for a huge fan such as myself. For one the tracklist seems a little lackluster and could have been way more than what it is and secondly the orchestra at times does not seem to support the band’s compositions as much as the band manages to add its own stamp to the classical pieces.

 

The “Classical Adventures” dubbed first CD contains the Johnsson composition “Clavicula Nox” (off “Vovin”) and then compositions of Dvorak, Verdi, Mozart, Saint-Saens and Richard Wagner and while the Swedes do not go all-out Metal, the whole thing shows a great symbiosis between the two entities and especially Verdi’s “Vedi! Le Fosche Notturne Spotigle” from “Il Trovatore” is a great adaptation, while Saint-Saens’ excerpt from Symphony No. 3 kind of drags on a little – that Wagner IS Metal, though, is impossible to deny and it shows throughout the four pieces featured here and I should mention that it is not the usual “Ride Of The Valkyries” etc.

 

For the THERION songs, the “cliché” of Metal adding on orchestras is somewhat fulfilled, but sometimes the orchestra is just not able to pierce through the Metal of the band, thus not being able to put it stamp on the songs, which we already are used to as being very orchestral, EPICA’s version of the same set-up (“The Classical Conspiracy”) seems to work way better in this department, maybe also because of their songs not having been featured on live releases as extensively as the Swedes’. “Blood Of Kingu” definitely is one of my all-time faves of THERION and Mats Levén truly delivers here and the last two tracks off “Vovin” and my favourite and the band’s breakthrough album “Theli”, “The Rise Of Sodom And Gomorrah” and “Grand Finale (Postludium)” are further examples for how this whole endeavour could have worked out greatly, but overall it could have been quite a bit more…

 

The DVD that comes with it contains what we just heard, the visual side is a little on the dark side, though, but adequately captures this very special evening for both the band and the fans, plus a 20 minute documentary and a 16 minute trailer for a similar concert such as this one in Bucharest. Not sure if this would have warranted a separate DVD release, but at least it’s part of the package, so it is an added bonus.

 

So...how to close this off...the quality of the songs is out of question, the setting is highly interesting, but still, it does not reach “Live Gothic” by quite some distance. Not a bad release by any means, but not essential either...

(Online December 24, 2009)

Alexander Melzer



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